Romanian Nationals Plead Guilty in ATM Skimming Conspiracy
United States Attorney Brandon J. Fremin announced today that ALEXANDRU-NICUSOR NITA, age 27, a Romanian national, pled guilty today to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud. On August 9, 2018, Nita’s co-conspirator, DANIELA-STEFANI IANEV, age 31, also a Romanian national, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud. As a result of their convictions, both NITA and IANEV face significant terms of imprisonment, fines, and periods of supervised release.
From November to late December 2017, NITA and IANEV conspired with others to commit bank fraud. NITA and IANEV installed ATM skimming devices on ATM machines at several financial institutions around the Baton Rouge area, among other locations in Louisiana. These ATM skimming devices captured the financial information of hundreds of customers using the ATM machines. The stolen bank account information was subsequently encoded onto blank debit cards and gift cards.
NITA and IANEV also installed overhead cameras on these ATM machines to capture the personal identification numbers (“PIN”) of the customers. The debit cards and gift cards were used by others, in combination with the corresponding PIN access codes, to make unauthorized withdrawals from the victims’ bank accounts, including at financial institutions in the Baton Rouge area.
U.S. Attorney Fremin stated, “Anyone who attempts to undermine the American people’s confidence in our financial systems through fraudulent criminal activity will be prosecuted vigorously. These defendants preyed upon unsuspecting victims by stealing and using their personal financial information in an effort to enrich themselves and today they have been held accountable. I sincerely appreciate the hard work and collaborative efforts of our prosecutors, the Secret Service, EBRSO and the Gonzales PD in their quest to bring these criminals to justice.”
Tara McLeese, Resident Agent in Charge of the Secret Service Office in Baton Rouge stated, “The Secret Service’s founding mission was to investigate and counter threats to the financial payment systems of the United States. Financial crimes investigations in the Baton Rouge area in particular benefit from an established Financial Crimes Task Force, which is comprised of Federal, State and local investigators. Members of this Task Force were instrumental in the successful investigation of this case. The Secret Service will continue to prioritize cases that have economic impact to the community and those that involve emerging technologies.”
“When criminals use fraudulent means, such as theft, to obtain prescription drugs illegally, they place all U.S. consumers at risk,” said Justin D. Green, Special Agent in Charge, FDA Office of Criminal Investigations’ Miami Field Office. “We will continue to pursue and bring to justice those who put the public health at risk.”
This matter is being handled by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Louisiana, the U.S. Secret Service, East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office, Financial Crimes Unit, and Gonzales Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Brad Casey.